Date of Award
College of Education and Professional Development
Type of Degree
This was an instrumental case study that examined the extent to which the politics of education in Tennessee that resulted in the passage of the Education Improvement Act of 1992 and related tax increases conformed to the assumptions of the Advocacy Coalition Framework as articulated by Sabatier. The framework viewed education policy change as the result of the interaction of (a) competing advocacy coalitions within a policy subsystem over a decade or more, (b) changes that are external to the policy subsystem, and the (c) effects of stable system parameters.
The researcher used a snowballing technique to identify 12 key education and political leaders in Tennessee, who were interviewed using a protocol developed specifically for this study. Data about the policy subsystem over the previous two decades were collected using formal research studies. Interview and document data were aggregated by predetermined categories and analyzed systematically.
Findings were presented chronologically and according to research question. The study found two competing advocacy coalitions that had interacted in the education policy subsystem throughout the past two decades. The coalition of education groups valued quality and advocated increased spending for education to improve the quality of education and, in turn, their quality of life. Coalition members advocated measures such as, teacher pay increases, statewide kindergarten programs, improved curriculum materials, a career ladder and reduced class sizes for teachers, and equitable funding to improve education for all students. Over time, coalition members disagreed on specific strategies but consistently agreed on the policy core of quality.
The other coalition, whose members were primarily business and tax payer groups valued efficient delivery of government services. They opposed tax increases and advocated centralized control, regulation, and scientific management to increase efficiency of the delivery of education.
Members of both coalitions published studies and held conferences to bolster their arguments, but the studies did not lead to policy change. Consistent with the Advocacy Coalition Framework, the skillful exploitation of dynamic external events appeared to have been the impetus of policy change in 1972, 1984, and 1992.
The University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies became the WV Graduate College in 1992 and was subsequently merged with Marshall University in 1997.
Education – Political aspects – Tennessee.
Pressure groups – Tennessee.
Ceperley, Patricia Ehle, "An advocacy coalition approach to a study of the politics of education in Tennessee" (1996). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1465.